Improve Post-Training Surveys to Learn About Impact

“Tell Us How Much You Love Us.”

That’s how a friend – who trains professionals all over the world – describes the average post-training evaluation survey. This is because surveys often just focus on three things:

Participation: Were the group exercises engaging? Were there adequate bio and texting breaks? Was it easy to work out problems with registration?

Satisfaction: Will the written materials help trainees use what they learned next week, next year?

Quality: Was the instructor knowledgeable? How much did trainees like the cookies and coffee that were served at the break?

Of course, the answers to these questions help trainers improve the next training. (Never underestimate the impact of a great dark roast at 3 p.m.) But, as my friend observes, a training survey should do more.

And this is why.

Most #socialchange #nonprofits do trainings to help make something happen. Deepen a group’s #politicalanalysis so that #organizing is better-grounded and more compelling. Build specific #skills that make it safer to walk and play in a neighborhood. Educate #legalworkers about a new law that will help indigent clients.

In short, trainings are aimed at changing understanding, beliefs, and behaviors.  A good training survey can help reinforce these training impacts.

The survey can identify whether trainees believe they have more understanding of specific issues than they did before the training. It can reveal whether trainees feel that the “level” of the training was right for them. It can point out topics where more time or better training techniques are needed. It can even prompt trainees to go back to training materials for additional information and helpful resources.

The survey also can gauge whether the training is likely to spur trainees to act. By asking “what actions might you take after the training,” trainers can better understand whether the instruction they’re providing is sufficient to that purpose. And by listing some possible actions from which to choose, the survey reinforces to trainees that post-training action is the aim.

Please see my Resources page for a short model survey that checks these boxes.

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